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Paddy Crerand is right about Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United

Manchester United’s journey post-Sir Alex Ferguson has been difficult, but many believe that Jose Mourinho finally has the Reds moving in the right direction. One of such people is Paddy Crerand, former Manchester United player and current pundit for MUTV. He believes events last season, as well as potential events this summer, could help the Red Devils back to the summit of the football world.

United’s victory over Chelsea, current Premier League champions, at Old Trafford, indicated to Crerand that United can win the biggest matches. The pundit also stressed the importance of new additions to the squad, which he believes to be a key factor in United’s ability to challenge the top two or three spots in the league.

“Beating Chelsea was the most important one. If you’re looking at who’s going to win the championship next year, you’d think Chelsea would be obvious favourites and then you’ve got Manchester City and maybe, maybe, maybe Liverpool. We’ll need to challenge them. It depends to a great deal on who we sign in the close season, who we can bring in to strengthen the squad.”

United beat Chelsea, Manchester City, and Tottenham at home, also winning many important matches to secure two trophies last season. However, United’s away record at the biggest teams in England was very poor last season, and for this reason, I believe Crerand is spot on.

“Strengthening the squad” seems to already be a theme of the window, with Victor Lindelof likely to play a massive role in defence next season. When current starter Marcos Rojo returns, United will have four or five very good options at the back for Jose Mourinho to choose from, without including the possibility of Axel Tuanzebe making appearances at the back or Chris Smalling returning to form.

“If the manager brings in new players, and I would think he’ll certainly bring in two or three, there’s a strong possibility United can give the Champions League a fright next year.”

Furthermore, United seemed to struggle in away games because of a lack of attacking impetus. Against Liverpool, Marouane Fellaini played a defensive role but struggled to help moving forward. Before United’s trip to the Etihad, Paul Pogba faced an injury that nullified United’s attacking tactics as Marouane Fellaini replaced him as the creative threat. The others were one-off matches, but United would greatly benefit from an addition to create and score goals out of nothing (this explains the hype behind Antoine Griezmann).

Saluting Mourinho’s reaction to United’s semi-final victory over Celta Vigo in the Europa League, Crerand believed it showed the fans what the project means to the manager if they needed proof at all.

“Football fans want to see a reaction from the manager. It makes them realise he could have been standing alongside them in the crowd.”

Mourinho’s commitment to United and insistence on being a part of this club has been clear since before he joined the club. Even now, he seems to have turned a new leaf with his transfer policy, signing Eric Bailly (22), Paul Pogba (23), and Victor Lindelof (22) when he seldom used to sign anyone under the age of 25.

Finally, Crerand believes confidence is very important for United, as well as the experience of winning competitions. He believes United’s Europa League triumph was a massive step in gaining the mentality required to challenge on Europe’s biggest stage.

“I always say football is about confidence. If you can win one European competition, you can win any of the European competitions. We’re in the Champions League next season, so you never know.”

Thus, there’s much to be happy about for United fans right now, even if it doesn’t quite seem that way. The Red Devils are building a winning formula with a few of the best players in the world in their position who are still improving, a good defensive unit, and an attacking one that will continue to improve. The reward for the work currently occurring at the club will be visible throughout the next few seasons.

Written by Aaron Moniz

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